Dozens of university presidents have announced they will retire or retire before or at the end of June 2021 otherwise, to the close of the financial year and academics.

The pandemic provides an unusual backdrop background leadership transitions, although many presidents retire have said the pandemic was not the main reason for his departure.

Ad apparent flood retirement makes sense, said Rod McDavis, managing director of AGB Search, higher education leadership search firm. Many presidents have announced their departures in the spring did not show up. Instead, they are sharing their plans this September, along with other announcements planned fall.

"Because of the pandemic, I think that most presidents who were planning to simply retire do not want to make an announcement, because you do not want to make that kind of announcement that a crisis occurs," said McDavis .

That was the case of Mary Marcy, president of the Dominican University. He had planned to announce his departure in March. And then the pandemic arrived on campus.

"So, we waited a bit, just to see if it was still a reasonable choice for the institution and for us personally," he said.

Six months later, Marcy announced on September 3 that he plans to retire soon. She will leave the Catholic University in California in June, at the end of fiscal year 2021. Dominican University turn 130 this year, which marks the end of its current strategic plan, and after almost a decade at the helm, Marcy He believes it is a good time to pass the baton to a successor.

"Ten years is a very good time frame for a president," Marcy said. "It is long enough to hopefully achieve what was asked to do and maybe a little more, then at that point is a good point to reevaluate and either have the next great vision of the institution, or leave another step. "

The output wave has also affected higher education associations. Mary Beth Labate announced on September 10 that would end his tenure as chairman of the Committee of Independent Colleges in New York. She will step down in December this year.

"In any case, the pandemic gave me some pause in my decision," he said. But it did not motivate her to leave office.

late spring and early autumn are popular times for recall notices, McDavis said, AGB Search. Any season usually gives advice administrative time to identify and recruit a new president.

ads fall particularly fits well into the rhythm of the academic year, said Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education and former assistant secretary of education in the Obama administration. I could not say for sure if the recent series of ads is unusually high this year.

"Trustees will have the opportunity to list a position and find candidates and be able to recruit them in the spring, so they could then take over for the summer," Mitchell said.

Search AGB has noticed an increase in requests from universities seeking to fill soon-to-be vacant chairmanships, McDavis said. Many institutions are reluctant to introduce an interim president during the pandemic, he said.

Some presidents not only delay your ads, but also their actual retirement. The future of some presidencies of the university was a topic of conversation last spring. Several leaders decided to delay their departures as the pandemic has affected their campus, including Tim White, rector of the University System of the State of California.

John Thrasher, president of the University of the State of Florida, had planned to leave in November after six years at university. At a recent board meeting, he agreed to remain at the helm until the university finds a new president.

"I really think I'll be here, probably until after the first part of the year, maybe even more, depending on the scope of the search and the depth of the applicant pool," Thrasher said. "I'm just going to finish strong and exit. We have a lot to do between now and then. "

Mitchell said none of the presidents who have spoken pandemic cited as their reason for leaving. But for some, the pandemic provided new clarity on what is important to their families, careers and futures.

"presidents who are at a distance from a significant part of their families, this takes a toll" Mitchell, who is a former president of the Western university he said. "It affects our sense of health security. Undoubtedly it affects our families for presidents who have older relatives. It has to be a consideration. "

The family and health were decisive factors for Roger Casey, president of McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., Who announced his retirement last week. He is at high risk of complications from COVID-19.

"I'm an only child and I have a couple of octogenarians parents living in South Carolina," Casey said. "I've never thought about it as far. You just hop on a plane and you're there in an hour. Not jump on a plane and get there in an hour. "

The increasing age of university presidents could also be behind many ads retirement. 2017 ACE study found that the average age of university presidents will not stop upward, from 60.7 in 2011 to 61.7 in 2017. Over 10 percent of the presidents were 71 years or older in 2017, and presidents are spending less time at their jobs than they used to. The average presidential term was 6.5 years in 2017, compared to seven years in 2011.

More than half of respondents ACE presidents said in 2017 that they planned to leave their jobs in five or earlier. Three years have passed since the study was published, and the wave of announcements of recent resignation could be related to the expected exodus university presidents.

Andrew Westmoreland, president of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., Had been considering retirement long before the pandemic. He is 63.

"I'm going up in 23 years of being a university president, so it probably was about 22 years ago when I decided I'd leave me smoking," he joked. He knew for a while that he would probably retire in 2021 or 2022.

The transition out of the office is likely to be different than it would in a typical year, Westmoreland said. But he does not know yet exactly what form it will take.

"I had assumed that the transition would be similar to other transitions, but I guess that does not really have much in the way of zoom calls and Microsoft equipment called with the introduction of the new president of the group" , He said.

Presidents additional leaving the office or are removed for reasons include Lori Varlotta of Hiram College, which is in the Chair at California Lutheran University, John Simon, Lehigh University, the Rev. Scott Pilarz University of Scranton, John Broderick of Old Dominion University, Mary Cullinan, University of Eastern Washington, Tom Manly Antioch College, Michael McRobbie of Indiana University Rev. Philip Burgos of the College of the Holy Cross and as Mark Ojakian of the system of Universities of the state of Connecticut. Also recently announced departure plans are University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer and president of the University of Valencia sand Shugart.

Running a university is never easy, but the pandemic has exacerbated the financial problems existing for many colleges and added a number of public health problems that have kept the schools under the national microscope . In addition, a change is expected in the national demographics to move the flexible student bodies away from the rich between 18 and 24 years old, white students many institutions traditionally serve the growing colleges need to grant financial aid robust and programs .

"university presidencies are very hard work, and there is much evidence that will be easier in the short term," Mitchell said.

None of the executives interviewed Inside Higher Ed the pandemic cited as the biggest challenge of his mandate. Labate recalled a difficult battle with the Legislature of the State of New York on tuition program at the University of the Free State, Grant called Excelsior, and reorganization of the way the Legislature understands financial aid. Thrasher pointed to budget problems and battles of public funds. For Westmoreland, who was the "collective burden of work" and be able to reach a consensus with many different constituencies

Asked what they will do after his departure, almost all presidents had the same answer :. Dream .


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